The private girl's school I attended did not offer Driver's Ed.
Our tuition money went towards other more important classes. Classes like the one Sr. Herbert Carnation taught, innocently named, "Death and Dying" which turned out to be a semester long "Q & A" session dealing with the secret world of Nun's. One particular day Sr. Herbert took us on a tour of the convent located on our school's campus. She showed us where she slept, where she ate, and where she prayed.
Maybe, too much.
Someone in the class forgot for a moment that she was a Nun and asked a personal question. Everyone held their breath. Sr. Herbert stood quietly for a moment, closed her eyes, reached into her blouse, and started massaging something that might have been a breast if Nun's had those. No one knows for sure.
We all sat in stunned silence, alternately captivated and repulsed. After what seemed like an eternity, she answered. One girl excused herself from the room. The rest of us sat completely still while our eyes darted about, searching frantically for reassurance from each other that we hadn't just heard what we did. Let's just say that by the time class was over we were no more prepared to meet our maker than when we started, but we sure knew more than we needed to know about the private and personal life of a Nun.
As for driving, the Nuns at my school walked everywhere. They owned one car for twelve Nuns. They carpooled with the Priests who drove bigger cars if they needed to go anywhere far. I remember my mother giving a couple of Nun's a ride to the store. They sat in the back seat and prayed the rosary the whole ride. It had nothing to do with being holy, my mother was a bad driver.
This is the reason I had to go to public school during the summer to learn how to drive.
I was terrified.
What would I have in common with the heathens?
Would they know I wasn't one of them?
What would I wear?
Catholic school kids didn't own any real clothes. We were born wearing a uniform.
It turns out, those were the least of my worries. I should have been more concerned about the fact that not one kid in our class knew the difference between the brakes and the gas pedal.
I should have been more concerned about the fact that our Driver's Ed teacher, who was also the angry school football coach had a bad case of narcolepsy and randomly fell asleep when he was under a great deal of stress.
Teaching kids to drive is stressful.
He slept through most of our driving.
He told us on the first day of "behind the wheel" training to leave him alone and not bother him if he happened to take a little nap while we drove. He also threatened to kill us with his bare hands if we told anyone about his problem.
I hope he's taking a nap right now and not reading this.
I learned many things that summer besides driving.
I learned that shutting my eyes while another student (whose turn it was at the wheel) took a hairpin turn on two screeching tires did nothing to drown out the sound of the crying boy next to me.
I learned that yelling, "Get out of my way" repeatedly, followed by a rapid succession of hysterical, "Oh, God's" as I barreled down the shortest on-ramp to the freeway did not help me merge any faster, or make the cars already on the freeway go any slower. No one could hear me anyway. The coaches loud snores drowned out everything.
That summer I learned not to tell my parents about my near-death experiences on a daily basis.
I told them hourly, and begged not to go back.
They made me go anyway, mumbling something about my overactive imagination.
I ended up getting my license that summer and living to tell this story.
I feel at this time that special thanks should go to Coach McSnoozy and Sr. Herbert Carnation. Without them this story would have been really boring.